LAURA + NICK

{ December 2nd, 2017 }
Oakland, CA

I specifically remember 16th Street Station from when I was attending film school in Emeryville, and my friends and I went scouting for locations for a hip-hop music video that we never ended up shooting.  Behind a barbed wire fence, and about a hundred yards of empty gravel and probably broken glass, loomed an old building with three distinct windows across the face.  My friend pointed out some of the graffiti as being recognizable as a local Oakland artists handy work.  

16th Street Station, Oakland, CA

If I had to tell you exactly what I pictured the inside of this building looking like, I would use many words like “squatters” and “heroin” and “corpses”.  Never in a million years would I have guessed how hauntingly beautiful, how elegant and at the same time gritty and raw it really was.  I didn’t know Bay Area weddings could take place anywhere with that much history.  

Built in 1912, and designed by a Chicago architect named Jarvis Hunt, the station served as the terminus for the transcontinental railway.  The last stop in the west.  It was severely damaged in the ‘89 earthquake, and finally closed in 1994.  Apparently Mumford & Sons filmed a music video there, and the station was used as a mission location in Watch Dogs 2.  Can you tell I Wikipedia’d it?  

It was a highly unusual venue, and it quickly became a character in Laura and Nicks film.

Laura had only reached out to me about two weeks before the wedding, as they hadn’t planned on hiring a videographer.  In fact, she wanted it to be a surprise for Nick.  

“Should I bust out of a giant cake or something?” I said.

She also mentioned that the venue did not have access to electricity, and I was instantly intrigued.  As a videographer, we generally need a lot of light to film with, so I was a bit worried but not too much.  “This is why I invested in the Sony A7s and a bunch of really fast lenses” I thought to myself.  

The staff was lighting candles everywhere around the building when I arrived, and shafts of sunlight were pouring through the facade.  I dropped all of my gear immediately and started filming.  I was in love.  Everywhere I looked, there were naturally eroded walls and ceilings, candles in rows and a beautiful circular bar right in the middle.

“She got us a wedding videographer, isn’t that neat?” I heard Nick say to his mother as I ran around the room shooting b-roll as the caterers put out hors d’oeuvres.  

I really liked Nick and Laura right away.  I had learned that they were good friends for years before they got together, and I feel like I would’ve been able to guess if they hadn’t told me.  They were such natural partners, taking time to be goofy with each other when other couples might be stressing out.  It’s quite clear, they are quite fond of each other.